If you are conducting a job search in the fields of engineering, science, or information technology (IT), chances are you’ll find yourself in interviews that feature more specific types of technical questions than the average interview. While the internet is full of stories that make technical interviews seem like a bombardment of questions that are asked only to trip you up (SPOILER: they aren’t), they aren’t anywhere near as “terrifying” as you may have been led to believe. To help combat any worries you may have, here are three tips that will help you ace it:
Be ready to problem-solve
Despite what you may have heard, technical interviews are not made to trick you. Companies simply want to assess your technical skillset and watch your problem-solving skills in real-time. With this in mind, expect to answer questions that involve hypothetical problem-solving. Depending on the position you are applying for, you may be asked to answer brain teasers, undergo logic tests, and/or even code. Although you have probably learned certain skills and concepts before, it’s good to brush up on the basics and wash away the rust. It is also important to remember that in a technical interview, especially with brainteasers, there isn’t always a “correct answer.” Instead, interviewers are looking to see your methodology and whether you can communicate your logic and reasoning.
Study the job description
The questions you’ll be asked during a technical interview aren’t random. Instead, they will relate to the needs of the specific position you are applying for. With this in mind, get very familiar with the job description as it can help you shape your expectations for the types of questions your interviewer may ask. By looking at the job duties mentioned in the description, you can gain insight on the types of challenges you may have to face on the job, and thus also on the possible problem-solving interview questions. In studying the skills and qualifications section, you can gain a clear idea of what skills may be tested during the interview, and thus what you may need to prepare for. This is especially true if there are very specific skill-sets listed.
Don’t forget the basics.
Yes, the technical side of a technical interview is extremely important, but don’t forget that other aspects of a “normal” interview still apply. Along with assessing your technical abilities, interviewers are still going to ask you the typical behavioral and situational questions. Like with any other interview, prepare to talk about your strengths, challenges you have overcome, and what you can bring to the position. Especially in the often collaborative environments of STEM, also show off your abilities to work in a team.